Bridging the Gap
Many people shy away from even considering learning bridge. Getting over that hurdle is overwhelming. Not any more. Start playing bridge after reading this book ... be realistic with your expectations and enjoy what comes after this enjoyable read.
Getting from a rank beginner to a beginner and still enjoying the game. A quick-start on one of the world’s most popular card games. This work is not a substitute for regular playing and lessons. Playing often and using a professional teacher are the most productive ways to learn this fascinating game …
(c) All rights reserved 2015
Michael s. Abbey
And They're Off
Many of the players that I have met in my torrid (ya right, 18 months) bridge career have been playing for decades. That much experience yields light years of knowledge ahead of mine. On a scale of 1-10, I am still traveling through level 1 (of 10) at a snail’s pace but I am making progress. Sometimes I am disappointed by not being as far along the learning curve as I would like to be. With that said, I am making progress.
The more you know about bridge, the more you have in your memory to forget. Sometimes we are so busy learning nuances of games we play that we forget the basics. This short work is all about the basics. No matter what you study, the basics are just that – become fluent with them before considering anything else.
Two words that I hear all the time from my bridge buddies are card sense.
This Book is and This Book is Not
Often when looking into new pastimes, we thirst for a heads-up on what we are getting ourselves into. This heads-up is what this book is all about. It provides a basic foundation for what the game of bridge is all about, a place where every player is or once was. You will go nowhere in the game without two assignments; the first one is mandatory and the second optional. Suffice to say, the second could assist development of your skills in a shorter time period:
1. Play as much as you can. Every hand is a learning experience and the recollection of who played what when may stay with you as you learn. Preferably play with people who are better than you to enhance the opportunity to learn from others.
2. Take lessons. There is so much to learn about the game. As with anything new, the basics are just that. Start there and move forward at your own pace armed with the invaluable experience of somewhat formal training.
What's the big deal
The secret about learning anything new? If you spoke to 100 people you’d probably get back 101 different answers. My two cents—the secret about learning something new is take it slowly. The game of bridge never interested me until a close friend took up the game. She encouraged me to give it a try. Am I glad she did! I am now about 20 months into my bridge career and loving every minute of it. It is right up my alley and strays into some of my strongest skills including mathematics, memory work, and simple logic.
Why is learning bridge such a big deal? Guess what … there is no big deal, there’s just a deal. Every bridge hand proceeds as follows:
1. 13 cards are dealt to each of four people
2. there are North/South and East/West positions at the table
3. the North/South and East/West players partner together to take seven or more tricks (called a contract)
4. suit contracts run all the way from 1c, 1d, 1h, or 1s up to 7c, 7d, 7h, or 7s
5. notrump contracts start at 1NT and go up to 7NT
There are four phases to each bridge hand:
1. the deal
2. the bidding
3. the play
4. the denouement
There are many card games out there that use this concept of trump. Each trick at bridge is won by the person with either:
1. the highest of the four cards played in the suit requested
2. the highest card from the trump suit designated in the contractIn the previous section I mentioned that all players must follow suit if they can. If they cannot, they may discard a meaningless card or play a card from the trump suit. Suppose h is the trump suit in a contract and the c holding for all four players is as follows:
Checkpoint – what we know so far …
1. Bridge is all about taking tricks
2. Each player gets dealt 13 cards
3. The players are paired as North/South and East/West, playing as two person teams
4. The teams bid for a contract of anywhere from 1c to 7NT
5. A trick starts when one of the players leads a card; subsequent players must follow suit if they can
6. Each trick is won by the highest card played by the four players
7. When the contract is in a suit (c, d, h, or s), that suit is called trump; if one or more trump cards are played in a trick, the highest trump card wins the trick
The Order of Play
Let’s look at the way the cards are played for a round of play, each round made up of 13 tricks. The fundamental rules for how this proceeds are:
· The opening lead is made by the person to the left of the player that made the contract
· The player who wins the first trick, leads a card for the 2nd trick
· Tricks 3 through 13 are started by the player who won the previous track
So What's Next
However brief this journey into bridge land has been, the car is decelerating as it arrives at the end of the line called “The Start.” Yes this may be the start of your bridge career and we have barely scratched the surface. There are some very important topics that have not been covered as I cannot do them justice. An intro to bridge - I can and have just done that. I recommend the Audrey Grant approach, starting with her first of three books that are available here amongst many other places.